City attorney meets with Hattiesburg City Council to explain inv - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

City attorney meets with Hattiesburg City Council to explain investigation

Governor Phil Bryant says the special election for Hattiesburg mayor will be held on or about September 24. The official date will be announced Tuesday. The election challenge trial was full of allegations about voter fraud and intimidation.

City attorney Charles Lawrence met privately on Monday with council members to explain why he ordered a criminal background check on a potential witness, Arthur Smith, in the election trial.

Councilwoman Deborah Delgado asked to keep that meeting open to the press, and the public, but that did not happen.

"My plan is to continue to do the best job I can do for the residents of the City of Hattiesburg," said City Attorney Charles Lawrence on Monday.

Lawrence explained that he singled out Smith because Smith previously approached Lawrence and asked if he could help him get past charges removed from his record.

Arthur Smith filled out his absentee ballot for Dave Ware; however, a search of the ballots did not find an Arthur Smith vote. Behind closed doors, it was revealed in a court transcript that the Hattiesburg Police Department, on orders from Lawrence, did a background check on Smith. Arthur Smith was called to testify as a witness in the Ware v. DuPree trial, but he never showed up to testify when he was subpoenaed on July 26.

"Of course, me having the knowledge of the fact that the person from another state wanted to get his record clean from another state, needed to verify whether or not the person was eligible to even vote," Lawrence said.

Since Lawrence is appointed by the mayor, the council cannot fire him. They can give him a vote of no confidence. Sources say the FBI, Attorney General's office, and the local district attorney may be looking into the situation. In fact, District Attorney Patricia Burchell issued a statement later on Monday:

"This office is committed to ensuring that all allegations of any type of criminal conduct within our community are investigated and appropriately handled."

The council may ask for other resignations and look for five new election commissioners.

Copyright 2013 WDAM. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsLOCALMore>>

  • Smoking hits new low; about 14 percent of US adults light up

    Smoking hits new low; about 14 percent of US adults light up

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 1:10 AM EDT2018-06-19 05:10:52 GMT
    Wednesday, June 20 2018 2:54 PM EDT2018-06-20 18:54:40 GMT
    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File). FILE - In this June 22, 2012, file photo, a smoker snuffs out a cigarette at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. The rate of smoking among adults in the U.S. fell to about 14 percent in 2017, according to new data relea...(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File). FILE - In this June 22, 2012, file photo, a smoker snuffs out a cigarette at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. The rate of smoking among adults in the U.S. fell to about 14 percent in 2017, according to new data relea...
    Smoking by US adults hits another all-time low; about 14 percent smoke cigarettes.More >>
    Smoking by US adults hits another all-time low; about 14 percent smoke cigarettes.More >>
  • Lower costs, fewer benefits in new health insurance option

    Lower costs, fewer benefits in new health insurance option

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 12:10 AM EDT2018-06-19 04:10:52 GMT
    Wednesday, June 20 2018 2:54 PM EDT2018-06-20 18:54:37 GMT
    As originally proposed, the new "association health plans" would have to cover people with pre-existing health conditions. However, they could offer narrower benefits than required under the Obama-era health law. (Source: Raycom Media)As originally proposed, the new "association health plans" would have to cover people with pre-existing health conditions. However, they could offer narrower benefits than required under the Obama-era health law. (Source: Raycom Media)

    Trump administration prepares to announce a new insurance option for small firms and self-employed people.

    More >>

    Trump administration prepares to announce a new insurance option for small firms and self-employed people.

    More >>
  • Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

    Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

    Monday, June 18 2018 5:20 AM EDT2018-06-18 09:20:00 GMT
    Wednesday, June 20 2018 2:54 PM EDT2018-06-20 18:54:15 GMT
    In its latest revision to an international disease classification manual, the U.N. health agency said Monday that classifying "Gaming Disorder" as a separate condition will 'serve a public health purpose for countries.' (Source: Pixabay)In its latest revision to an international disease classification manual, the U.N. health agency said Monday that classifying "Gaming Disorder" as a separate condition will 'serve a public health purpose for countries.' (Source: Pixabay)

    The World Health Organization says that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a new mental health condition, in a move that some critics warn may risk stigmatizing its young players.

    More >>

    The World Health Organization says that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a new mental health condition, in a move that some critics warn may risk stigmatizing its young players.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly